Delta Dental of North Carolina

Home / About / Newsroom / Press Releases / National survey: top reasons for American adults’ unexpected trip to dentist


OAK BROOK, Ill. – May 23, 2018 – The midyear mark is fast approaching. Have you had a dental exam this year? According to a recent national survey from Delta Dental, many adults do not seek out proactive dental care and confess to visiting the dentist less often than they should. As a result, many adults suffer from oral health detriments. The study reveals that more than half of Americans (57 percent) have made an unplanned visit to the dentist, with pain in mouth (33 percent) being cited as the leading cause.

According to the Adult’s Oral Health & Well-Being Survey, a chipped or cracked tooth (26 percent) or a cavity (20 percent) also rank as top reasons for Americans to suddenly find themselves in a dental chair. A lost crown or filling tied at 14 percent. Capping off the key reasons is bleeding gums (8 percent).

The Delta Dental survey indicates that more than two in five (42 percent) Americans admit they typically visit a dentist less than once a year.
“A healthy smile is a valuable asset in everyday life but requires proper care, including to help prevent gum disease,” said Joe Dill, DDS, MBA, Delta Dental Plans Association’s vice president of dental science. “Making an appointment for a dental exam is a positive step to safeguard the health of your smile.”
Simple lifestyle tips for a healthy smile:

Dr. Dill recommends regular dental exams as part of preventive oral health care. He shares the following basic pointers for helping to prevent the top reasons for American adults’ unplanned dentist visit.
  • Pain in mouth: Brush and floss daily, eat a healthy diet, and quit the use of tobacco products, if applicable
  • Chipped or cracked tooth: Avoid chewing ice and hard candies and never use your teeth as a substitute for the right tool
  • Cavity: Remove plaque with daily flossing and brushing, reduce consumption of sugary foods and beverages from your diet, and chew sugar-free gum that contains xylitol
  • Crown fell off/filling fell out: Avoid hard and sticky foods, such as caramels and hard candies
  • Bleeding gums: Floss and brush with a fluoride toothpaste daily, eat a balanced diet, and visit the dentist regularly
About the survey
The Adult’s Oral Health & Well-Being Survey was conducted between December 13 and December 28, 2017, among 1,008 nationally representative Americans ages 18+, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.
Follow us on Twitter @DeltaDental and Facebook: Delta Dental Plans Association
About Delta Dental Plans Association
Delta Dental Plans Association, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, is the not-for-profit national association of the 39 independent Delta Dental companies. Through its companies, Delta Dental is the nation’s leading dental insurance company, covering more than 75 million Americans, and offering the country’s largest dental network with roughly 154,000 participating dentists. Year over year, Delta Dental companies invest more than $50 million to help improve oral health care in local communities across the country. For more information, visit:

Get Connected